Our friend Denise Richardson, of givemebackmycredit.com, has posted a helpful article on how to avoid being the victim of identity theft scammers during the upcoming 2010 census. Richardson warns that scammers can use a variety of methods to gain access to your information. The Census Bureau has strict guidelines it must adhere to when conducting a census and being familiar with some of them will help you protect yourself.
For example, census questionnaires are always mailed directly to you “so be wary of anyone trying to tell you that they have the questionnaire in their possession.” If you don’t complete your form and mail it back in, a census bureau employee might show up at your home.
Census workers must carry an official government badge that clearly identifies them. This badge includes the individual’s name, so you can ask for a second form of identification with their name on it for comparison. Along with the badge, a legitimate census worker carries a confidentiality notice and a binder containing a list of the people they must contact regarding the census. He might also have a small, handheld device or and an official census canvas bag.
Census employees also will not ask to enter your home and only ask for general information, such as age, race, gender and name. The only financial information they might ask about is salary range. Also, official census employees will not ask for you to pay them a fee or give a donation. The easiest solution to avoid this potential type of scammer is to mail your questionnaire back in.
The Bureau also rarely sends out emails. If they do, you will not be asked to supply personal information. If the email contains asks for this kind of information, it is a phishing email and you shouldn’t click any links contained in it.
Census phone calls are typically related to surveys only. Do not provide the following information to anyone claiming to be a Census Bureau representative on the phone: social security number, birth dates, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers.
If you have had issues with identity theft feel free to contact us by calling 205-879-2447.